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Reviews 293 wrote in both the classical Chinese oíLiaozhai and the stylized vernacular ofdrama, and I hope that someone will soon examine how the epochal developments in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century vernacular fiction relate to Pu Songling's achievements in the classical language. (How is it, for example, that Pu was able to write convincing dialogue in a form ofthe language that nobody actuaUy spoke?) But these caveats pale beside the achievements oíHistorian ofthe Strange. Had Zeidin not shown what she has shown—the centrality to Liaozhai of dream and obsession, the blurring ofboundaries—I would not even have thought to ask the questions above. Readers who go directiy from Historian ofthe Strange to Liaozhai itselfwül read Pu Songling's work with gready heightened appreciation and engagement. Katherine Cariitz University of Pittsburgh Katherine Cariitz is an adjunctfaculty member in theAsian Studies Program, specializing in studies ofMingfiction, drama, and social history. Zha Jianying. China Pop: How Soap Operas, Tabloids, and BestsellersAre Transforming a Culture. New York: The New Press, 1995. 210 pp. Hardcover $20.00, isbn 1-56584-249-9. Anyone who has visited China over the past couple ofyears wül have been perplexed by the observation that communism these days is suddenly "out" and capitalism "in," and while pictures ofdie violence used against the student hunger strikers at Tiananmen Square stiU linger in the minds ofmany concerned Chinawatchers, the Chinese people themselves seem fuUy occupied with xiang qian kan, a punning phrase that can be interpreted bodi as "looking ahead" and "looking at money." IronicaUy, or, according to author Zha Jianying, "by lucky coincidence," diese tiiree words not only epitomize the Party's infamous "motto to fool the population" (p. 18) but also succincdy sum up die current ideological oudook ofan entire nation infatuated with the doUar sign. How, then, are we to understand fhe logic offhis unexpected transformation, fhat is, from "commu-© 1997 by University nism> chinese style» to a «marketeconomy, socialist style" (p. 23)? Or, to situate w ' ' this question within a historical context, to what extenthas Deng's open-door economic policy eroded Maoist China and its culture? 294 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. ?, Spring 1997 China Pop is an investigative and personal account ofthe harrowing as weU as haUowing socioeconomic developments and cultural trends in post-Tiananmen China. As each ofthe six main chapters subtly details and convincingly demonstrates , the "lucky coincidence" between communist phraseology and capitalist ideology in fact elides an intricate subtext of complex interpersonal dealings and social frustrations visible only to those who live in die country on a dailybasis. From the phenomenal success of China's first TV soap opera to the aborted efforts ofa visionary architect, from the trials and tribulations of Chinese Fifth Generation film directors to die rapid commitment to commercialization among artists, journalists, and former Red Guards, and finaUy from the public's indulgence in soft pornography to the growing influence ofand peculiar obsession with Hong Kong entrepreneurship, each chapter underscores the author's main argument that post-Tiananmen China is undergoing an "economic and cultural hybridization [fhat] plays a significant role in eroding the tyranny ofthe old monolidiic ideology" (p. 22). Indeed, Zha offers many compeUing insights to substantiate her claim. But what her personal observations reveal are perhaps less ofan erosion than an ebullition ofnot fuUy bygone sentiments, albeit directed toward a new goal. For example , in the chapter titled "Whopper," Zha comments on her own surprise at the resilience ofRed Guard jargon for the purpose ofmarketing a declining newspaper (p. 106). By the same token, she regards the failure of fhe pro-democratic movement abroad to organize itselfproperly as fundamentaUy linked to fhe fact that "the rebels [in exüe] were themselves products of communism, the student children ofMao," who have foolishly conducted business as usual (p. 12). But most indicative of the return ofthe repressed—in the spirit of "serving the people"—is the 1992 commercial success ofthe recording Red Sun, a soft-rock adaptation of famous old '50s and '60s hymns to Mao (p. 109). China Pop, with its anecdotal style and journalistic tone, is clearly aimed at a broader general audience. There are no footnotes or bibliographical...


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